Last week brought some unseasonably cold weather to east central Florida. When I met California resident Jim at the ramp at 8 AM on Tuesday, the temperatures were still in the 40's. The wind was blowing around 20 and we knew we were in for a tough day. Jim had hoped to fly fish the Mosquito Lagoon but we opted to use spinning gear due to the weather. We found several schools of redfish and some black drum as well. Casting was tough and the fish were in a bit of shock from the sudden temperature drop. Jim managed to fool one redfish with a DOA CAL.
Wednesday, it was a bit warmer but the winds were still howling. It did not look like a good start for my two day charter with Dan, a fly angler from New Jersey. Dan is a certified casting instructor and elected to stick with the fly despite the challenging conditions. His excellent casting skills paid off and he landed his first two redfish on the fly. The first on a tan and gold bendback, the second on a black crab pattern. Dan also had shots at some big trout that did not eat and had a few more redfish bite.
The next day, Dan and I arrived to find slick calm water and mild temperatures. Our first stop was holding several schools of finning redfish. After casting several different flies to the schools with no bites, Dan finally hooked up on the first redfish of the day with an EP pinfish pattern.
Our second stop was holding numerous large seatrout along with some redfish. Dan cast the pinfish fly to a trout we spotted lying in a sandy hole. We were able to watch the fish inhale the fly. After a few quick photos, it was released to fight another day.
Throughout the day, Dan had consistent shots at redfish and large trout. He landed three more redfish and had a few more bites where the hook did not find its mark.
This Wednesday, I went fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon for the first time in over a month. The big trout were more cooperative than the redfish and I caught five of them over 24 inches on both fly and DOA CAL/Chughead combos. A redfish and black drum on fly completed
Thursday, I was joined by Doug and Jason for a fly fishing trip. The water had risen significantly overnight but the day started warm and calm. We came upon a nice school of upper slot redfish. Jason hooked up using the EP pinfish. The fish made a run towards the boat forcing Jason to reel as fast as he could to keep up. When the fish saw the boat, it made a quick turn. Before Jason could release the handle, the line came tight and broke the leader. We had more shots at redfish and big trout before coming upon a large school of black drum just as the wind started to blow. Jason hooked one on the first cast using a small brown and black crab.
Doug took over and made some great casts to the drum but we could not get another bite. The winds continued to increase and clouds rolled in putting an end to our sight fishing.
Friday, Michigan residents Ray and Gus made their first trip to Mosquito Lagoon. At our first stop, we were greeted with schools of both redfish and drum. Gus hooked up but the line broke when one of the many fish in the school ran into it. Before long, we had a double header of drum and redfish.
They continued casting to and catching both redfish and drum until the only other boat within a mile decided to move about 60 feet in front of us with his trolling motor while inquiring if we had seen any fish. We all shook our heads in disbelief and moved on to find another spot to ourselves. While they found the casting skills necessary for successful
sight fishing a bit more challenging than they had expected, both guys fooled redfish using DOA CAL tails and had consistent shots at tailing reds throughout the day. The steady 15-20 mph winds made casting difficult but we ended the day having landed between 10 and 15 fish.
Water temperatures have risen into the 80's and more baitfish return with each day. The rising water levels has the fish searching areas they have not been able to access for months for new sources of food. The best bite as of late has been the large trout. While the redfish and drum can be picky on some days, the trout are eating well if you can get a lure or fly to them before they see you approaching.
Only two more weeks until the Coastal Angler Magazine Fishing and Boating Expo in Melbourne. There will be seminars each day on both inshore and offshore topics. Capt. Tom Van Horn and I will be manning the Mosquito Creek Outdoors Angler Skills Center.
Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Chartershttp://www.floridafishinglessons.com